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Chasing the Son 6

Mercy flows from God. His gift to us. We are all sinners, deserving of God’s wrath. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved through faith (Eph 2:4, 5).” Love is one of God’s innate attributes. He shows the power of His love for us in that despite our natural tendency toward sin His response is grace and mercy.

In His mercy God does not give us what we do deserve and in His grace He gives us what we do not deserve. The two really go hand in hand, but with a slight difference as you can see to give us the full picture of His love for us. Through His grace He gives us mercy from His wrath that we deserve. It’s that simple and our worship response to glorify Him is to be merciful to others. Our worship response to God’s mercy is to be merciful to others.  

I watched an episode of a TV medical drama recently that really nailed this. A man’s wife was trampled during a mass evacuation after a vigilante gunman fired into the crowd at a young boy who had used a leaf blower to prank the audience that he had a gun. The young boy who was shot by the gunman was fighting for his life in the hospital and needed an immediate liver transplant or he would die.

The only available donor was the man’s wife who had just died from the injuries she had sustained from being trampled. After a conversation with the chief of staff, the man signed the waiver to donate his wife’s liver and the transplant was successful. The story could have ended there and would have been a perfect example of how mercy flows from God through us to others.

However, this is a drama series. The man asked to meet the young boy who had received his wife’s liver. He entered the room and everyone was thankful and welcoming to him. They reached out to him in gratitude. But the scene went south fast when the man threatened to stalk the boy on social media and call out what he had done for the rest of his life.

Now that was TV drama and I’m not sure anything like that has ever happened in reality, just the figment of a writer’s very active imagination. But the point is, hearts can be hardened, can’t they? Sometimes it can be difficult to show mercy. Hearts become tainted, even jaded toward others and it turns into bias or prejudice or even hatred.

But as Christ followers, He calls us to a different standard. To let go those things in the world that have become a shroud around our heart.  In our letting go, we find forgiveness. And in forgiveness we find freedom from the burden we’ve been carrying that weighs down our soul. We get the same flow with forgiveness here as we do with mercy.

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive (Col 3:13).” Forgive, because we have been forgiven. Be merciful, because we have been shown mercy. A merciful heart is a forgiving heart.  

When we think about what Christ gave up on the Cross, what He suffered for us, the pain He endured to pay the price of our salvation, and His final words from the Cross were, Father forgive them. After all we’ve transgressed and have been forgiven from the Cross by the One we put there / the One who gave His life for us, how can we do anything less than forgive others’ their transgressions against us? That’s mercy which should be the heart of every Christian.

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